Studio Musings

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Creative Spark - Winter Edition

Cover, Creative Spark magazine edited by Hope Smitherman and produced by ZnetShows
Creative Spark, Winter 2015
The latest issue of Creative Spark, ZnetShows' design magazine meets winter head-on, delivering an avalanche of snowy inspiration; no snow shovels required.

I was again asked to participate and submit a design, working with their lovely cultured sea glass and the theme "Icy".  Living by the ocean, one of my favorite things is to go beach combing, searching for sea glass.  But Znetshows definitely has a way of spoiling a person.  Their cultured sea glass has all of the soft lustre of real sea glass, and comes in a huge range of shapes, colors and sizes.  The trickiest part for me was figuring out how to fit into the winter theme, when the glass kept whispering 'warm summer sun'.

Taking a departure from freeform peyote for a wee bit, I created a choker style necklace with regular peyote stitch and netted fringe loosely inspired by the Roaring 20's using several peridot-green, diamond-shaped sea glass drops as the accent beads.  Working with the theme "Wintergreen", I paired the drops with bright, iridescent white and iridescent crystal seed beads. 

In the end, I couldn't resist creating a little freeform peyote ring showcasing one of their sea stars.  Curious to see what I created?  My necklace is on page 10.  But mine are only a couple of the many, many featured designs, including bead weaving, stringing, wirework, and more by nearly two dozen designers. 

Hope Smitherman has once again put together a stellar line-up, filled with wonderful beady eye candy and inspiration, along with several fun surprises.  Be sure to check it out

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Explorations goes Digital!

Drumroll please!  Explorations in Freeform Peyote Beading, is now available as a four-volume ebook set.  I've been wrestling with the translation to ebook for over two months now, and am absolutely thrilled to announce that it now available for Kindle and ePub (which uses a range of readers including Overdrive, iBooks and Adobe Digital Editions).

File-size was the single largest factor in my decision to divide the book into four volumes for the digital edition.  As a single file, the book was simply too large, with too many images, even once I'd reformatted the images for the screen.   But my hope is that by dividing the book, it will also allow people to choose exactly the content that interests them most.  

Once I divided the book into sections, I realized that I now had the luxury of space.  With the single-column, flowing layout of ebooks, I didn't have to fit all of my information into one or two page spreads.  So I went back to the drawing board and looked through the photos I hadn't been able to include in the print version due to file size, adding them back in where it seemed appropriate.  Some of the ebooks have more additions than others, but each has at least a few new additions. 

Here's a look at the set: 

Volume 1:  Demystifying the Technique and Quick Projects (Chapters 1&2)
cover image for Chapter 1 & 2:  Demystifying the Technique and Quick Projects
I decided to combine the first two chapters into one ebook volume.  This contains most of the diagrams detailing the core stitch techniques and ideas, a look at how the elements of design can help guide your beading and lots of great, smaller projects for getting started.

  • Basic Stitch Techniques: even and odd count peyote, increases, decreases and tubular peyote
  • Freeform Peyote Variations: working along the length, working along the width, building bridges, working around curves
  • Information on tools, materials and bead choices
  • Elements of Design and how they relate to freeform beadweaving: Value, Line, Texture and Working with Color
  • Photo galleries featuring additional works and ideas for expanding upon a theme
  • In-depth photo essays detail the construction process for seven pieces 
  • Personal Planets beaded beads tutorial
  • Ideas for combining freeform peyote with other media and beadweaving stitches
  • Additional works by artists Ibolya Barkóczi, Sarah Meadows, Marlene Oman Emmons, Lisa Jones, Mary Kearney, Marsha Melone, Jennifer Porter, Ellen Lambright and Bobbie Rafferty
Available on Amazon, or my Etsy Store.

Volume 2: Working with Ruffles (Chapter 3)
cover image for ebook Volume 2: Working with Ruffles (Chapter 3 from print edition)
Volume Two covers one of my favorite topics - freeform peyote ruffles! The chapter starts out with a series or ruffle experiments showing how slight changes in bead counts can create significant differences in appearance of the finished ruffles.  From there, I dive into a series of projects using ruffles, including earrings, pendants, brooches and cuffs, finishing with a look at the softer freeform ruffles of my first featured artist, Jennifer Porter.  

  • Three Ruffle Experiment photo essays show how stitch choices affect ruffle development
  • Detailed photo essays share the design and construction process for five original pieces
  • How the author developed the basic stitch techniques into series of related, but unique designs
  • How to incorporate larger accent beads into freeform ruffle designs
  • Developing a design around unique focal items, in this case enameled poppies and headpins
  • How to incorporate the ruffles into larger projects with the Coral Dancer bracelet and Fallen Leaves cuff
  • Works by featured artist, Jennifer Porter
Available on Amazon, or my Etsy Store.

Volume 3: Developing More Complex Jewelry Designs (Chapter 4)
cover image from ebook Volume 3: Developing More Complex Jewelry Designs (Chapter 4 from print edition)
While I lightly touched on larger project such as bracelets and necklaces in the earlier chapters, here these designs become our primary focus.  This chapter/volume is like a master class with an in-depth look at the design and creation process of myself and four extremely talented artists from around the world.  

  • In-depth photo essays detailing the construction process for five of Karen’s original designs.
  • A closer look at the works of four featured artists from three continents:  Natalia Malysheva, Cynthia Machata, Wendy Hatton and Janice Cuozzo
  • Design tips for using paper mockups and simple sketches to test fit and design suitability before begin to stitch
  • Troubleshooting suggestions to help salvage recalcitrant designs
  • Additional works by Sherry Eagle, Liz Hart, Bobbie Rafferty, Mary Foyes, Mandi Ainsworth and Ibolya Barkóczi\
  • Note - this chapter does not include beading diagrams or instructions on the basic stitches, and is best suited for beaders already comfortable with peyote stitch, including increases and decreases.  

Available on Amazon, or my Etsy Store.

 Volume 4: Beaded Forms and Freeform Sculpture (
Chapter 5)
cover image from ebook Volume 4: Beaded Forms and Freeform Sculpture ( Chapter 5 from print edition)
An introduction to the range of possibilities using freeform peyote as a sculptural medium.  Trying to find a way to encapsulate and summarize this chapter, most simply it introduces two distinct modes of sculpture - covered shapes and hollow forms.  Rather than trying to create a comprehensive look at all of the sculptural possibilities, I focused on areas of personal interest. 

  • In-depth photo essays detailing the construction process for two Beaded Bottles
  • Tips and suggestions for working with armatures and beading around a form
  • Ideas for creating smaller, sea-based sculptures including barnacles, anemones and nudibranches
  • Featured artist, Nancy Dale’s detailed tutorial on creating Beaded Rocks expands the concept of encapsulating forms with freeform peyote
  • A closer look at the freeform Beaded Fish of featured artist Georgia McMillan, with a detailed tutorial by Karen Williams  
  • Additional works by Cortney Phillips and Beth McGowan
  • Note - this chapter does not include beading diagrams or instructions on the basic stitches, and is best suited for beaders already comfortable with peyote stitch, including increases and decreases.

Available on Amazon, or my Etsy Store.

The listings  through my Etsy store includes an immediate download for the ePub (.epub) formats. If you'd also like the Kindle version, write "Kindle" in the Directions to Sellers section of your purchase and I will send a link to download the Kindle version within 48 hours.  Unfortunately, the Kindle files are too large to upload to Etsy for direct download (file sizes again!), so this is the best work around I've been able to come up with for now. 

Wow!  What a year this has been.  Explorations may have been my third book, but was definitely a learning experience every step of the way, building upon everything that came before.  Having never published for Kindle or ePub, I had no idea what I was getting into.  But I am truly pleased with the results. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

'Superbowl Party' at Fusion Beads

Teaching is one of my favorite things, and yesterday's Freeform Peyote Rings class at Fusion Beads totally rocked.  The excitement leading up to the Superbowl later in the day had everyone a little giddy, I think.  And with my class ending at 2 - everyone could be home before the game.   

This time around we had six people in my class, of all skill levels.  Everyone created something wonderful, but three allowed me to take photos of their "Game Day" rings to share:

Freeform Peyote Ring by Linda
Linda's Party Ring, in true Seahawks colors
 Linda started her ring out with the spikes, then decided to go back in and add the drop beads and crystal spikes for more 'bling'. If this ring doesn't scream "Party", I don't know what does.

Jennifer Porter's freeform peyote ring with Ruffles
Jennifer add ruffles to hers - though it's a little hard to see clearly in this photo
Jennifer Porter created a 'oceany' ring with ruffles - though I wish I'd done a better job of photographing this ring so the ruffles were clearer!  They swirl out from the front of the ring like a coral reef.  The large green bead at upper right is actually a fish, the angle is simply wrong to see it in this photo.

Rebecca's finger guard ring
Running with the idea that more is more, Rebecca decided to create a finger guard ring that swept all the way down to her first knuckle in the front.  I think this would fit right in with a Bollywood production! 

Not bad for a three-hour class (queue music from Gilligan's Island)!  And to complete the party atmosphere, Fusion Beads put out a beautiful spread of Superbowl munchies (including salted chocolate caramels - yum!)

I fear I have to admit that I didn't watch the Superbowl, but I did check in periodically, so I know the Patriots took the day.  But I am glad the Seahawks made it to the Superbowl because it made yesterday's class just that much more fun!